Where Do Pistachio Nuts Come From?
Pistachio nuts are the seeds of the pistachio tree. This tree grows in Europe, Asia, and in California and the southern United States. Under favorable conditions pistachio trees live and produce for centuries.
Pistachio nuts grow in large clusters on the trees, and like almonds, are surrounded by a fleshy hull.
Pistachios ripen in late summer or early autumn, their hulls becoming rosy and their inner shells splitting naturally along their sutures. The nuts may be an inch (2.5 centimeters) long and have thin, white shells that are usually split on one side.
Their pale green kernels have a mild flavor. These kernels are sometimes ground and used for flavoring and coloring. You have probably tasted the pale green pistachio ice cream.
Originally imported in the 1880s for Americans of Middle Eastern descent, pistachios were first introduced to the rest of America as a snack food some 50 years later.
Sold in vending machines across the United States, these imported nuts were usually dyed red to mask imperfections and for visual appeal. Pistachio trees were planted experimentally in California beginning in the early 1930s.